Focus on the Finger Lakes National Forest

NWTF Director of Conservation Operations (Eastern U.S.) Brian Zielinski understands that good habitat ultimately translates to better turkey hunting and higher harvest totals, which is why he has been so excited about a high-impact, multi-year partnership project currently wrapping up inside of the Finger Lakes National Forest in New York.

The NWTF received a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that allowed its partners to enhance brood rearing habitat, create young forest cover within streamside areas and eradicate nonnative invasive species.

According to Zielinski, these types of projects are very beneficial to wild turkeys, but they also help many other types of wildlife. “We were able to improve brood rearing habitat for turkeys and the water quality through in-stream, streamside and upland habitat, which will help many other wildlife species, including fish. Nonnative invasive species, such as glossy buckthorn, bush honeysuckle and others, were cleared to help restore areas back to native herbaceous and woody vegetation. This will provide excellent nesting and brood rearing habitat and much needed wooded cover,” Zielinski said.

Zielinski strongly feels that establishing nesting habitat and wooded cover close to areas where young poults can forage for insects can dramatically increase survival odds. Projects that enhance habitat will increase poult survival rates, which can improve turkey hunting and overall harvest totals in the long run. That’s why the NWTF works hard to form working partnerships and raise funding to plan and execute such projects.

“We would like to thank the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that provided a significant amount of funds to the NWTF through the Great Lakes Basin Fish Habitat Partnership and our other partners such as the USDA Forest Service, Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District and Hobart and William Smith colleges. Working together allows us to accomplish some amazing things on the ground,” Zielinski said.

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